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ISL 2023/24: Who will make the sixth spot for playoffs?

The playoff battle for the 2023/24 ISL season is the most exciting race ever in league history. Let’s have a look at who will make the sixth spot for the playoffs.

Moinak Banerjee
Last updated: 30.03.2024
ISL 2023-24: Who will make the sixth spot for playoffs

The current top four of the ISL namely leaders Mumbai City, Mohun Bagan Super Giant, FC Goa and Odisha FC have all sealed a place in the playoff. Fifth-placed Kerala Blasters will also secure a spot after gaining two more points from remaining matches. It means the sixth or the final spot for the playoffs is in dispute with all teams placed sixth to 11th remaining in contention with only three games to go in the league phase this season. 

Only Hyderabad FC are out of the conversation as they are destined to finish bottom even if they take full points in the remaining matches. The best the Nawabs could reach is 17 points, currently on five, if they somehow manage to win their remaining games but it will not take them anywhere. Having not won a single game in the entire season, it is hard for them to achieve it in the first place.

Pos 6: Punjab FC (Pld: 19, GD: - 7, Pts: 21)

ISL’s first promoted side Punjab FC’s excellent run of form has given them a good chance of making it into the top-six in their debut season in the top flight. The I-League winners were helped by Jamshedpur FC’s game against Mumbai City getting forfeited which pulled them to the sixth spot. The Shers have faith in their hands and need to win their remaining matches to confirm their spot. However, the final three matches will raise eyebrows as they take on two of the top four teams on the ISL table before facing another playoff-chasing side East Bengal in the last match.     


Pos 7: Bengaluru FC (Pld: 19, GD: -9, Pts: 21)

Despite the inconsistent form, Bengaluru FC have done enough to be in the mix for the top six. However, they have to rely on others, especially Punjab FC to do them a favour. If the Blues win their remaining matches, they will overtake Staikos Vergetis’ side to the sixth spot only if the Shers drop points in one of the three matches at least. Punjab FC have a better head-to-head record than Bengaluru FC and if points are level at the end of the day, Gerard Zaragoza’s side will not make it into the top-six. Bengaluru FC also have a daunting schedule with Odisha FC, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan to face before the end of the season.


Pos 8: Jamshedpur FC (Pld: 19, GD: -3, Pts: 20)

Jamshedpur FC were handed a 3-0 defeat in their match against Mumbai City as a punishment for violating rules by using extra foreign players in the match. As a result, the Men of Steels dropped to eighth on the table from sixth, opening the door for others to seize upon the opportunity. The side that has transformed their season since Khalid Jamil took charge wants to finish in the top six but they will have to rely on other results. Jamshedpur FC needs to win their remaining matches and hope Punjab FC and Bengaluru FC drop points. They also cannot allow NorthEast United to get level on points with them due to an inferior head-to-head record.                   

Pos 9: NorthEast United (Pld: 19, GD: -8, Pts: 20)

NorthEast United were the front-runners to make the final spot for the playoffs but a run of three winless games before the international break has cost them. The Highlanders are not in control of their faith anymore, asking Punjab FC and Bengaluru FC to do them an unlikely favour. Juan Pedro Benali’s team can reach 29 points at best. Dropping further points could eliminate them from the race if the rest don’t. The schedule only gets tougher with fifth-place Kerala Blasters and Odisha FC to manage amid at home and a trip to playoff-seeking Chennaiyin FC clamped in between.    


Pos 10: East Bengal (Pld: 19, GD: -2, Pts: 18)

Super Cup winners East Bengal are in an awful run of form in the ISL losing the last three matches and seeing their dream of entering their first playoffs hanging by a thread. Carles Cuadrat’s side also has to face two top-six contenders Bengaluru FC and Punjab FC before ending the season. The Red and Golds hope to beat both of them to escalate their chances but require Jamshedpur FC to drop points as well. NorthEast United and Chennaiyin FC will be eliminated from the race in that scenario due to East Bengal’s superior head-to-head points against them this season.       

Pos 11: Chennaiyin FC (Pld: 18, GD: -10, Pts: 18)

Although Chennaiyin FC have a game in hand, their task of sealing a playoff place seems to be difficult. Owen Coyle’s side suffered a shock loss to winless Hyderabad FC till then which leaves them a mountain to climb. The Marina Machans need to win their final four games to make it to the playoffs but need others to drop points. If the points are level for Chennaiyin FC with the rest, other than East Bengal, they will take the sixth spot unhitched. They will face Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United in back-to-back matches with Mohun Bagan and FC Goa to battle as well in a perilous schedule.

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